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Synchronize your Mac's Clock with a Time Server

It happens to the best of us: We purchase new Macs and everything is fine. But then, slowly and inevitably, our Macs' clocks start losing time -- a minute here, a minute there, and before we know it our clocks are substantially slower than their accurate counterparts. How do you fix this? Synchronize your Mac's clock with a time server!

Linking your Mac's clock to a time server will sync the time on your mac with a server. If you are using Mac OS 10.4 Tiger, you're probably automatically synced to Apple's time server, which is But you can also set up a time server so your clock will be set to your office's time, or maybe your college's time (many colleges have their own time servers). Time servers ensure that everyone has the right time, since your Mac will check the time server throughout the day.

Here's how to synchronize your Mac:

  1. From the Apple menu, select System Preferences. If you've recently purchased your Mac, and haven't modified your Dock, your System Preferences should be on the Dock.

  2. Select Date & Time.

  3. If the lock in the bottom left-hand corner of the window is locked, you will need to unlock it (go to step 4). If it is already unlocked, then go to step 5.

  4. If the lock is locked, you'll need to authenticate. This lets your Mac know that you're authorized to make system-level changes. All you need to do is click the lock. Then, you'll be asked for your administrator password. If you are the administrator, type in your username and password. If you are not the administrator, you will need her to authenticate. Once you've typed in your username and password, click OK.

  5. Look at the spotlight in the "Date & Time" window below. That is where you type in your time server. Time servers are also known as "NTP" servers. You can see that the automatic default for the time server is Apple's very own But you can change this. Type in a new time server. (I typed in "" -- a time server that does not actually work. But you get the point.)

There are literally hundreds of free time servers that you can use with your Mac. Try 'em out!


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